LUCKY NUM­BER SEVEN

Australian Guitar - - Technique -

In this is­sue, I want to cover sweep pick­ing of mi­nor 7 arpeg­gios, and how sweep pick­ing can be used with the mi­nor pen­ta­tonic scale.

The ma­jor­ity of metal and rock mu­sic is in a mi­nor tonal­ity. The mi­nor pen­ta­tonic scale, Do­rian mode, Phry­gian mode, nat­u­ral mi­nor and melodic mi­nor scales are all used ex­ten­sively in gen­res of gui­tar-based mu­sic. The mi­nor 7 arpeg­gio fits within all of these scale pat­terns.

Know­ing this arpeg­gio all over the fret­board will be very use­ful when im­pro­vis­ing and com­pos­ing. Think of each note in the mi­nor 7 arpeg gio as a res­o­lu­tion.

Know­ing where these res­o­lu­tion notes sit un­der­neath each scale will al­low you to re­solve melodies quickly, and even play chro­mat­i­cally if you want to add some dis­so­nance to your so­los and riffs. The last ex­er­cise takes the tired old pen­ta­tonic box shape and turns it into a sweep pick­ing ex­er­cise. It may also help you to bridge be­tween the box shapes.

EX­ER­CISE #1

Ex­er­cise #1 shows an A mi­nor 7 arpeg­gio as­cend­ing and de­scend­ing through two oc­taves through­out the first two bars. The A mi­nor 7 arpeg­gio is out­lin­ing the chord tones of the A mi­nor 7 chord – for ex­am­ple, A, C, E, G.

Bars #3 and #4 out­line the nat­u­ral mi­nor, or A Ae­o­lian scale, us­ing the same one-oc­tave pat­tern that was used for the arpeg­gio. The idea here is that you can clearly see the chord tones un­der­neath the scale pat­terns. This is a very use­ful tech­nique, as it re­quires you to only mem­o­rise one oc­tave of any arpeg­gio or scale, and then shift the same pat­tern two frets and two strings higher to start in the next oc­tave.

Bars #5 and # 6 show the same con­cept start­ing on the A note of the fifth string. There is a slight dif­fer­ence in the pat­tern to com­pen­sate for the in­ter­val be­tween the G and B strings, but with all four of these bars com­bined, you have al­most the en­tire fret­board mapped out.

Ex­er­cise #1 can also be adapted for the Do­rian and Phry­gian modes as they both con­tain a flat­tened third and sev­enth scale de­gree. It will also work with the mi­nor pen­ta­tonic scale very eas­ily, as there is only one note’s dif­fer­ence. Add the fourth de­gree of the scale, and you get a mi­nor pen­ta­tonic pat­tern.

EX­ER­CISE #2

Ex­er­cise #2 builds on the idea that we first ex­plore in Ex­er­cise #1. The first two bars as­cend through the same oc­tave shift­ing arpeg­gio pat­tern as Bar # 1 of Ex­er­cise #1, and then de­scends through the pat­tern from Bar #3 of Ex­er­cise #1. There is no new in­for­ma­tion here – the idea is to show how these ideas can be bridged.

Bars #3 and #4 of Ex­er­cise #2 out­line an as­cend­ing A mi­nor 7 arpeg­gio start­ing on the A string. It could also be played in open po­si­tion, util­is­ing even more of the fret­board.

De­scend­ing through this pat­tern, we have a new arpeg­gio shape com­ing from the C form of the CAGED sys­tem. This is a very handy pat­tern as it out­lines the chord tones that sit un­der­neath the three-note-per-string C ma­jor scale start­ing on the eighth fret of the low E string. It also makes sense rhyth­mi­cally, as it starts and re­solves on the first beat of each bar.

EX­ER­CISE #3

Ex­er­cise #3 in­tro­duces a com­pletely new idea, but still stays in the same key of Ex­er­cises #1 and #2. Ex­er­cise #3 out­lines the A mi­nor pen­ta­tonic shape that ev­ery­one knows and uses, but shakes things up by mak­ing use of an un­even num­ber of notes on each string.

By com­bin­ing the A mi­nor and C ma­jor pen­ta­tonic box shapes, we can de­rive a pat­tern that can eas­ily be sweep-picked. With three notes on the first string, fol­lowed by one note on the next, we can move to the next string with the same up or down stroke – as is out­lined in the first two bars of the ex­er­cise. This will al­low you to sweep the strings, and may help you come up with new phrases al­to­gether.

If any­thing, this is just a great tech­ni­cal ex­er­cise, and may help to bridge be­tween the box shapes that you al­ready use.

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